Chapter 1 : I Missed You
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He'd been gone for just a few days, James had said. She'd checked all his usual haunts; the obscure record shop in the middle of muggle London, the pubs and bars he could be found frequenting with a pint of beer or a few shots of whiskey, even the corner shop near his flat. She had methodically checked each shop in Diagon Alley every day, and had even been into Gringotts to ask the goblins if he'd been in, even though they were always rude, and quite frankly, freaked her out with their short stature and wrinkled skin.
She knew why he'd disappeared. He'd never ever spoken the words, not even to James, his very best friend. He never wanted to be a burden to anyone else. The one thing he couldn't quite wrap his head around was other people caring about him. Now, as the tears threatened to spill over onto her cheeks, she wished she'd told him that she cared about him. She could hear his voice in her head right now, accompanied by that stupid smirk he always wore.
“Christ McKinnon, I always knew you fancied me. I'm just too good looking not to fall in love with.”
The Sirius in her head suddenly slumped over, abandoning all his usual swagger and charm. He looked much younger than seventeen, in fact he looked much like he did the day he'd left for good; a bleeding, bruised shell of a boy. Exactly one year ago on Christmas Day.
All sorts of thoughts had crept into her head since she learned that he'd disappeared. Had his Death Eater cousins kidnapped him? Tortured him? Killed him? Had he simply just wandered off somewhere to let off some steam? Was he hidden in some girl's bedroom somewhere, forgetting his troubles? But surely, if that were the case, he would have boasted to James about it before leaving, or even Remus or Peter? The four of them were absurdly close, after all. They were more like brothers than friends.
Sirius had originally planned on spending Christmas alone. He would never openly admit the triggering effects that the holiday had on him, usually receiving beatings and hexes instead of presents. They had discovered he was missing when Mrs Potter had knocked on his door to beg, no, demand that he spend Christmas with her, her husband and James. He was more than just one of her son's friends to her, he was another son in all but blood.
She sighed. She would welcome the thought of him with a girl, if it meant that he was safe. She never stayed angry with him for too long... not that he ever knew he made her feel that way. It was dangerous in these times to admit ones true feelings. Besides, she knew her track record wasn't exactly clean either.
Sirius Black was just one of those people that could hide forever if he didn't want to be found. The tears spilled over at this one thought, boiling hot and then searing cold as they rolled down her cheeks. A hand gently gripped her shoulder, and a small flame of hope shot through her, which she quelled immediately. She didn't want to be disappointed when she turned around and it was James, or her mother.
“Mar.” The voice was male, and deep. Deeper than James', and huskier than her father's. It was the sound of liquor and a thousand cigarettes.
She spun around and launched herself at him, openly wailing. He smelled like he hadn't showered in days, and his stubbled scratched her face as he rested his chin on her, but he was there.
After a few seconds of squeezing him almost to death, she glared at him and hit him in the chest. “Where the hell have you been?!”
He shrugged in his nonchalant way. “Around.”
“Oh no. You're not getting away with it that easily. We've been looking everywhere for you.”
“You can't've looked everywhere,” he smirked cheekily, “otherwise you'd have found me.”
She hit him again, and pulled him into her house, wrapping her arms tightly around him as though she was afraid he'd disappear again.
He chuckled into her blonde curls, which had gone bushy from the rain and snow. “Merlin McKinnon, did you actually miss me?”
“No,” she scoffed. “You stink. Get in the shower and I'll let James know you're here.”
“No,” Sirius said firmly.
“I can't spend Christmas there. Don't get me wrong, I love them to death, but...”
She finished the sentence in her head. It would remind him too much of last year, when he'd turned up beaten and broken on their doorstep, having nowhere else to go.
“Fine,” she said. “I'll let him know you're safe, and you're staying here for Christmas.”
He knew there was no sense in arguing with her. He was far too exhausted. He climbed the stairs, knowing the house well from the amount of time he and James had spent here. He left his clothes scattered on the bathroom floor, and let the hot water rain down on him. It was a blessing after days of wandering in the snow. He hadn't bothered with magic to keep him warm. He stayed there until his skin was a raw pink, and then spotted Marlene's shower gel. He squeezed the bottle and a thick purple liquid came out, and he was hit with a more overpowering version of her scent.
“Did you use my shower gel?” she frowned, after he had entered her bedroom, wrapped in a towel.
“Maybe,” he grinned. He was beginning to feel better. Marlene just had that effect on him. She threw some clean clothes at him, and turned around to let him dress. He collapsed on her bed once he had, and she lay down next to him. They often did this, usually outside in the summer, watching the sky, sharing a bottle of alcohol and a cigarette or two. However, her bed was tiny, and they were squished together. It wasn't uncomfortable, Sirius thought, as he shifted to move his arm around her shoulders.
“Mar?” he asked quietly.
“I missed you too.”
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